Derby County are entertaining Liverpool at Pride Park [‘iPro’ and wanton consumerism can go do one] for the 3rd round of the English League Cup, and it’s going to be captivating watch, considering Nigel Pearson and Juergen Klopp are both managers with the reputation of going at it, hammer and tongs. However, in midst of all the little skirmishes, it would be remiss to miss out on certain talents who are likely to be showcased in this fixture.
T4O’s resident hipster, JD, picks out the best five.
#5 James Wilson
The Manchester United loanee will have all the motivation he’d require to dent Liverpool’s chances of progressing into the next roun dof the competition. The 20-year-old English striker is blessed with bags of technical ability, which allows him to forge openings for his teammates, and himself, out of half-chances. Liverpool defence will have to mark him tightly, to make sure he doesn’t get time on the ball to inflict an upset.
#4 Cameron Brannagan
Position: Attacking Midfielder/ Winger
Cameron Brannagan would know all about expectation management, being with Liverpool since the age of 5 and being head and shoulders of most players in his age group from there to now. Scouted and consequently courted by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Dortmund, among other European elites, the rumours of his talents has preceeded him. In response to all the speculation, he signed a long-term professional contract to signal his intent of carrying on the legacy of Kirkby legends, past. Equally capable of playing just off the striker, or on either wing, the boy is as much a facilitator as he’s a goal threat.
#3 Will Hughes
Position: Left Midfielder / Central Midfielder / Left Winger
The Derby County midfielder who has been tipped for greatness, incidentally, was a Liverpool target not to long ago, under Brendan Rodgers’ reign. The Merseysiders were favourites for his signature till the point they were priced out of a deal.
His marked technical ability on the ball is further consolidated by his versatility. Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, or a left-winger, Nigel Pearson would be chirping in the boy’s ear to show Liverpool what they missed out on.
#2 Ovie Ejaria
Position: Central Attacking Midfielder / Left Winger
The boy is a slow-cooked casserole of trick and flicks. By which we mean to say, that he’s deceptively skillful. The Nigerian, a former Arsenal academy graduate, is a tangle of limbs, yet when he’s on the ball in a tight situation, he will show the deftest of touches, or a slow shimmy and a burst to completely leave his marker flatfooted. Was on the bench for Chelsea, and had Liverpool needed a goal, he would have been thrown in the mix for sure. Keep an eye out for this one.
#1 Marko Grujic
Position: Box-to-box midfielder
You wouldn’t need to ‘keep and eye’ on this one. Standing at 6’4”, his talents will be rudely introduce himself if you’re a Derby County supporter. Kindly known as the Serbian Kraken, the box to box midfielder was a dynamo of the demolition squad of Serbian players who shocked the world by winning the Under-20 World Cup. The Crvena zvezda collosus has admittedly modeled his game around Steven Gerrard, and then, it seems, his celebrations as well, after being on the scoresheet a halty number of times in pre-season. Liverpool fans wait with bated breath to see if all the hype is justified, and they may find out at the expense of Derby.